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Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. It may be thought of as the opposite of "slipperiness".

There are several types of friction:

  • Dry friction resists relative lateral motion of two solid surfaces in contact. Dry friction is subdivided into static friction between non-moving surfaces, and kinetic friction between moving surfaces.
  • Fluid friction describes the friction between layers within a viscous fluid that are moving relative to each other.[1][2]
  • Lubricated friction is a case of fluid friction where a fluid separates two solid surfaces.[3][4][5]
  • Skin friction is a component of drag, the force resisting the motion of a solid body through a fluid.
  • Internal friction is the force resisting motion between the elements making up a solid material while it undergoes deformation.[2]

When surfaces in contact move relative to each other, the friction between the two surfaces converts kinetic energy into heat. This property can have dramatic consequences, as illustrated by the use of friction between pieces of wood to start a fire.

Another important consequence of many types of friction can be wear, which may lead to performance degradation and/or damage to components. Friction is a component of the science of tribology.

Friction is not a fundamental force but occurs because of the electromagnetic forces between charged particles which constitute the surfaces in contact. Because of the complexity of these interactions friction cannot be calculated from first principles, but instead must be found empirically.


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